Skip to main content

Full text of "The Confederate soldier in the ranks : an address by Major- General D.H. Hill, of North Carolina,"

See other formats

; '.- ; .■■'-.•.. "...-■■*, ■'■>■■' '■'•■•" ".■;:■■. ■: :'■.;■■ .-.,-';"■-• .■. ■ '■• '■:•-<■ 

Confederate Soldier in the Ranks 
Ma j. -Gen. D. H. Hill 

€&e JLi&rarp 

of tl;c 

Canitjet0itp of JSortl) Carolina 

Collection of jRort& Carolinians 

(SnDoiDet) fap 

Mn §>prtmt OT 

of ti)e ©lass of 1839 

The Confederate Soldier in the Ranks. 


Major-General- D. H. Hill, 









Published by Order of the Association. 



Association of the Army of Northern Virginia, 


WM. H. F. LEE, - President 

BRADLEY T. JOHNSON, - - Vice-President 

RO. S. BOSHER, - Treasurer. 

CARLTON MCCARTHY, - - - Secretary. 



Rev. J. WM. JONES, D. D., - - Chaplain. 


The Confederate Soldier in the Ranks. 


Major- General D. H. Hill, 









Published by Order of the Association. 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 

Go ^io. 7C 




Major-General D. H. Hill, C. S. A. 


General Lee introduced as orator of the evening, General D. H. 
Hill, in the following graceful words, which were heartily applauded : 

" I have the honor, ladies and gentlemen, to introduce to you as 
our orator of the evening one of the famous Captains of the gallant 
Army of Northern Virginia, whose name and fame is interwoven 
with its history. It is especially pleasing to Virginians to greet this 
distinguished soldier, not only on account of his own great merits, 
being known as among the bravest of its Generals, but also because 
he comes from our sister State of North Carolina, whose gallant sons 
poured out their blood so freely on Virginia's soil in defence of con- 
stitutional liberty." 

General Hill was received with deafening applause, and stood for 
some minutes before he could proceed. 


Soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia, 

Ladies and Gentlemen: 

It is meet and proper that the Association of the veterans of the 
noblest, truest and bravest army that the sun ever shone upon, should 
assemble in the Capital of the late Confederacy. It is eminently 
fitting, too, that it should meet in the Capital of Virginia, since its 
name and fame are inseparably associated with three illustrious Vir- 
ginians. It was a Virginian who first organized it and sent it upon 

4 The Confederate Soldier in the Ranks. 

its wonderful career of victory ; it was a Virginian, who, at its head, 
held at bay for three years the army recruited from the four quar- 
ters of the globe, and who, with ever-decreasing forces, fought the 
world in arms; it was a Virginian, who, with portions of this famous 
army made those stealthy marches to the rear and struck those ter- 
rible blows, which so astonished the world. We remember that it 
was a Virginian, whose eloquence most fired the hearts of the Colo- 
nists against British aggression ; that it was a Virginian, who moved 
in that Continental Congress for a declaration of independence; that 
it was a Virginian who wrote that declaration; that it was a Vir- 
ginian, who led the armies of the rebellion against Great Britain ; 
that it was a Virginian, who so expounded the principles of the Con- 
stitution as to make that instrument acceptable to the American peo- 
ple ; that it was a Virginian who presided over the court established 
under that Constitution with such ability and impartiality that he is 
to-day regarded as the wisest, greatest and purest of the Chief Jus- 
tices of the United States. We remember with great pride that one- 
half of the life of the nation from Washington to Lincoln — thirty-six 
of the seventy-two years — was passed under the administration of Vir- 
ginia Presidents. We remember with reverential awe, the father of 
his country, the Virginia-born Washington, of whom Wellington 
said that he was the grandest and sublimest, and yet the plainest and 
simplest character in history. Concerning whom Byron made the 
pathetic lament that the earth had no more seed to produce another 
like unto him. 

But, though, from the settlement at Jamestown to the present hour, 
proud memories and glorious traditions cluster around the beautiful 
women and illustrious men of Virginia, I honestly believe that the 
most heroic portion of her history is from 1861 to 1865, when she so 
grandly bared her bosom to the hostile blow, and bore with such 
sublime patience the desolation of her soil and the slaughter of the 
noblest and best of her sons. The Army of Northern Virginia ! 
So let it be ! Let the grand old State and the grand old army bear 
the same name, and may their fame be linked together forever and 
forever ! 

Others have spoken before your Association of the great battles 
and the great leaders of the civil war. Mine be the grateful task 
to talk of the unknown and unheralded private in the ranks. The 
picture of him rises before you all — the keen, patient, quizzical, 
devil-may-care face, the brimless slouch hat, the fragment of a coat, 
the ragged breeches, the raw-hide shoes, unless some lucky find on 

The Confederate Soldier in the Ranks. 5 

the battlefield had given better foot-gear (and Johnny always was par- 
ticular about his under-pinning). When he had his trusty rifle and 
well-filled cartridge box, he considered himself splendidly clad with 
half a uniform and a whole pair of shoes. He was self-reliant 
always, obedient when he chose to be, impatient of drill and dis- 
cipline, critical of great movements and small movements, the con- 
duct of the highest and lowest officers, from Mars Robert down to 
the new-fledged lieutenant. He was proud of his regiment, scornful 
of odds, uncomplaining of fatigue, ungrumbling at short rations, 
full of strange drollery and mockery at suffering. 

Such was the Confederate soldier between '61 and '62. before 
battle and disease had swept away the flower of the Southern youth. 
He had the elan of the Frenchman, the rollicking humor of the 
Irishman, the steadfastness of the Englishman or German, and the 
dogged perseverance of the Scotchman. He was ready to charge a 
battery with the wild Rebel yell or to receive a charge with the im- 
perturbable calmness of Wellington's veterans at Waterloo. He had 
the best characteristics of the best fighters of the best races of the 
whole earth. The independence of a country life, hunting, fishing 
and the mastery of slaves, gave him large individuality and immense 
trust in himself. Hence he was unsurpassed and unsurpassable as a 
scout and on the skirmish line. Of the shoulder-to-shoulder courage, 
born of drill and discipline, he knew nothing, and cared less. Hence, 
on the battlefield, he was more of a free lance than a machine. Who- 
ever saw a Confederate line advancing that was not crooked as a 
ram's horn? Each ragged Rebel yelling on his own hook and align- 
ing on himself. 

But there is as much need of the machine-soldier as of the self- 
reliant soldier, and the concentrated blow is always the most effective 
blow. The erratic effort of the Confederate, grand, brilliant and 
heroic though it was, yet failed to achieve the maximum result, just 
because it was erratic. Moreover, two serious evils attended that 
excessive egotism and individuality, which came to the Confederate 
through his training, association and habits. He knew when a move- 
ment was false and a position was untenable, and he was too little of 
a machine to give in such cases that whole-hearted service which 
might have redeemed the blunder. The other evil was an ever- 
growing one. His disregard of discipline and independence of 
character made him often a straggler, and the fruit of many a victory 
was lost by straggling. I believe that with his exalted patriotism, 
his high sense of honor and his devotion to duty, the Confederate 

6 The Confederate Soldier in the Banks. 

soldier would have submitted to any just and reasonable discipline 
imposed by honest and intelligent officers. 

But too many of these officers were looking- for political preferment 
after the war to permit a uniform system of government to become 
practical and possible. We needed, too, what our enemies had, an 
old army, a body of veterans, as a model of obedience, and as a 
nucleus for the formation of other troops like unto themselves. We 
needed the camps of instruction which our enemies had, the drill 
masters, and the months given to training and discipline of their 
recruits, while ours had of necessity to be hurried to the front. The 
South had rushed into the war absolutely destitute of everything, 
save the courage of its people, which makes a military nation. We 
had no foundries, no machine shops, no factories, no powder mills, 
no roller mills, no paper mills, no means of making tents and camp 
equipage. The paper upon which the ordinances of secession of 
the respective States were written came from the North ; the ink 
and pens with which they were written came from the North. We 
had no iron works for casting cannon, no gun factories for small 
arms, no establishments to manufacture powder, none in which to 
make caps for muskets and rifles. Even after the battle of Manas- 
sas the question of returning to the old flint-lock was seriously dis- 
cussed. The spinningwheel and the handloom were the chief 
dependence for furnishing clothing to the troops. The country tan- 
yard and the country cobbler could alone furnish them with shoes. 
There was not in all the South a factory for making blankets for the 
soldiers, who had to endure the bitter rigors of the winter in the 
border States. We had no ships upon the ocean to draw supplies 
from abroad, while our enemies could recruit their armies and their 
war material from the continents of the whole globe and from the 
far off isles of the sea. From first to last, ours was the worst equip- 
ped, the worst fed, the worst clothed, and the worst organized army 
in the world ; that of our enemy was the best equipped, the best 
organized, the best cared for, and the most pampered army of the 
nineteenth century. It is the grandest tribute that mortal man can 
pay to our soldiery to say that they knew of the tremendous differ- 
ence between their condition and that of their foes, and that they were 
contemptuous of it. They believed that their courage, their fortitude, 
their patience and their devotion to duty, would more than make up 
for all deficiencies in organization, equipment, material and numbers. 
I will give some examples of these grand characteristics. On the 
31st May, 1862, my division attacked the Federal division of General 

The Confederate Soldier in the Ranks. 7 

Casey, having a pentagonal redoubt in which were ten guns. On 
each side of the redoubt were rifle-pits, which could only be reached 
by struggling through an abattis of from twenty to one hundred 
yards in width. Three Federal batteries in rear had a murderous 
fire upon the road and upon all the approaches to the works. The 
recent heavy rains had made the ground almost a quagmire. But on 
our gallant fellows went floundering through the mud and slush, 
wading through water three and four feet deep, scarcely able to ad- 
vance, had there been no foe in front. But they were mown down at 
every step by cannon shot, shell, grape and canister; they were 
mown down by the musketry fire of men calmly awaiting them under 
the protection of earthworks and obstructions. On and on went 
those nameless heroes of unrecorded graves. The Fourth North 
Carolina regiment, with bloody loss, captured a section of artillery in 
the road and made way for Carter's battery, which came up to the 
relief of our struggling infantry. Now began that awful, that wonder- 
ful contest between five guns sinking almost to the axle at every fire 
against sixteen guns in position. It was a brief artillery duel, for 
Couch's division was coming up in massive columns to the aid of 
the sorely pressed Casey, and by my own express order, Carter 
turned his fire upon the approaching masses of infantry; every shell 
burst in the right place, every solid shot struck in the right place; 
the ranks broke and sought shelter in the woods on our right and in 
the abattis on our left. There was no farther advance by the Federals 
up the Williamsburg road after Carter turned his guns upon their 
infantry. All this time the sixteen guns were remorselessly pelting 
the five guns of the King William artillery, and his hitherto untried 
men weie subjected to an ordeal which few veteran artillerists will 
stand, that of receiving, without returning, an artillery fire. But 
there was no flinching with these splendid fellows, and they kept 
steadily to their work on the infantry until their concealment in the 
brush enabled the King William boys to give tit for tat to the artil- 
lerists in blue. But relief now came to Carter's men for a time at 
least; the advance of our infantry drove Casey's men from the re- 
doubt and the rifle pits, cut Couch's division in two, turned part of 
it off to join Sumner and sent the other part streaming to the rear. 
The fight began at one o'clock, and by three o'clock, my division, 
without any assistance whatever, had captured Casey's camp and 
earthworks, had taken ten pieces of artillery and two hundred pris- 
oners, and had defeated or checked all the heavy reinforcements sent 
to Casey, at least two divisions of succoring forces. And now, for 

8 The Confederate Soldier in the Banks. 

the first time, our exhausted men got help. The Palmetto Sharp- 
shooters, of R. H. Anderson's brigade, Longstreet's division, under 
Colonel Jenkins, came up. Some twenty minutes later R. H. Ander- 
son reported to me with the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth South Caro- 
lina regiments. Jenkins had gone to my extreme left, and there the 
Twenty-seventh Georgia, of my division, was attached to his regi- 
ment. Jenkins and Anderson fought their way through the abattis in 
front of the second line of intrenchments to which the defeated had 
retired, captured that line and joining their forces, held a brief con- 
sultation. Anderson took the Fourth and Fifth South Carolina 
regiments with him, and went off to the left to sweep down the rail- 
road, giving Jenkins the Sixth South Carolina with orders to follow 
up the dirt road. With these three regiments, Palmettos, Sixth 
South Carolina and Twenty-seventh Georgia (1,800 men in all), 
Jenkins began that march of victory, which has had but few parallels 
in history. He had to fight Heintzleman's corps, minus Berry's 
brigade, and such fragments of Key's corps as could be rallied. 
The enemy was dazed, bewildered and demoralized by Casey's de- 
feat, so that the reinforcements did not fight as well as Casey's 
men had done. One of Casey's brigadiers said in his report, that 
he had seen Heintzleman's men break when they had hardly felt the 

Everything gave way before the three regiments and the masses 
of the enemy were steadily driven to the intrenched camp. At 
one time, Jenkins was confronted by a larger force than his own, 
while columns of at ack were forming on each flank. He rushed 
at the pas de charge upon those in front, broke them, and then facing 
about, attacked in flank one of the columns flanking him and routed 
it. The other column disappeared. The pursuit ceased with dark- 
ness and Heintzleman boasted in his report that the Rebels got no 
further than the woods in which he and Keyes had gathered together 
i, 800 men. All the Federal reports speak of the overwhelming 
numbers of the Rebels that came upon them and lament that they 
had but 11,500 men to meet these fearful odds. Those words, " over- 
whelming numbers," applied by the Federals to every lost field, are 
most expressive. Johnny had a way of multiplying himself when 
he was in a good fighting humor and then he appeared very nu- 
merous ; and when he had anything like a chance he was a very 
overwhelming sort of fellow. 

All day Sunday and Sunday night General J. J. Peck, of the Fed- 
eral army, had strong working parties strengthening the intrenched 

The Confederate Soldier in the Ranks. 9 

camp and making it more secure for the eleven thousand five hundred 
men who had sought refuge there. The success of the first day was 
not followed up on the second day. The wounding of our illustrious 
commander and other causes prevented an united attack upon Sum- 
ner, which must have crushed him. There was no fighting the second 
day to speak of except by Pickett, who started on his own accord 
and stopped when he pleased, or after he had driven the enemy to 
the brush, as he expressed it. 

Seven Pines was not altogether a barren victory. It delayed 
McClellan until Jackson was brought upon his flank. It gave a 
splendid exhibition of dash and courage, and that had a most inspirit- 
ing effect upon the subsequent campaign. 

Longstreet's division lost five hundred men; mine, 2,992, out of 
nine thousand men engaged. The Sixth Alabama and the Fourth 
North Carolina lost sixty per cent, of the men brought into action. 
Carter's battery lost fifty-nine per cent. 

I was looking at the battery and was within ten yards of it, when 
a shell exploded just before the muzzle of one of its pieces, and all 
the men at it and the horses at the limber went down before it. 
They seemed to me all huddled together "in one red burial 
blent." An officer ran up and pulled out one live man from the 
confused pile. Two men were killed, five wounded, and two horses 
were killed by that one explosion. The wounded appeared, for 
the time being, to be paralyzed, as only one was pulled out at 
first. This was the most destructive shot I had ever seen up to that 
time, but I afterwards saw one worse at Malvern Hill and one worse 
at Sharpsburg. It was the enemy's artillery in all three cases that 
was so deadly. This havoc in Carter's battery was in the pentago- 
nal redoubt after its capture. 

Two-thirds of the loss in Rodes's brigade was after Casey's works 
had been taken and his division and Couch's had been driven off. 
Berry's brigade, of Kearney's division, had been turned off into the 
slashes when Carter's fire had made a direct advance impracticable. 
There it was joined by one of Abercrombie's regiments, and possibly 
by rallied fragments of the defeated divisions, and securely sheltered 
behind large trees and heavy fallen timber, they kept up a murderous 
fire upon Rodes's men in the open field, though the advance of An- 
derson and Jenkins had cut them off from their comrades. These 
Federals escaped after nightfall by taking a circuitous path through 
the woods, round by Anderson's saw-mill. 

It was said for a time that Casey was surprised and that his divi- 

10 The Confederate Soldier in the Banks. 

sion was defeated by a sudden rush of mine. His own report and 
the reports of all his officers show that there was nothing of the 
kind. He had been waiting for us for hours with his men and guns 
in position. The sudden rush began at one o'clock, and Casey's 
works were captured at three o'clock. It is a misnomer to call a 
deadly struggle for two hours a sudden rush. It is unjust to my di- 
vision, as well as to that opposing me, to say that Casey's men fought 
badly. They fought better than the reinforcements sent to help them. 
Fowler Hamilton, a jolly dragoon officer, was asked in the Mexican 
war by some of the newly arrived troops, "Are the Mexicans brave ? " 
" They are brave enough for me," replied he. Casey's men were 
brave enough for me, and he himself was a veteran of approved cour- 
age and conduct. He seems to have been one of the very last to 
abandon his earthworks. 

The battle of Seven Pines is a fine illustration of the prowess of 
untrained, untutored and undisciplined Southern soldiers. The 
great battles of Europe, in which veterans were engaged, show 
a loss of from one-tenth to one-fourth of those engaged. At Seven 
Pines our raw troops lost one-third of their number without flinching, 
moving steadily on to victory. The true test of the loss in battle is 
the number of casualties before the shouts of triumph rend the sky ; 
for it has often happened that the chief loss of the defeated has been 
from the murderous fire upon their disorganized, unresisting, and 
huddled together masses. This has always been so when the defeat 
has been the result of a flank movement, or when a brilliant cavalry 
charge has followed up the rout. 

But my theme deals with the individual private in the ranks and 
I will therefore give some personal anecdotes, which I know to be 
true, and are not sensational clap-trap for the occasion. After the 
capture of Casey's camp, one of my staff went with a litter to 
remove a private in the ranks, whom he had known at school. 
"No," said the wounded man, "let me alone, Ratchford, I am 
mortally wounded. Carry off some one who will live to fight for 
his country another day." Then waving off his comrade with a 
feeble effort of his poor, dying hand, he said, "Good-bye, Ratch- 
ford," while the white lips parted in a farewell smile. 

The world has wondered at and has praised for two hundred and 
ninety-nine years the grand self-denial of the dying Sir Philip Sid- 
ney, who gave the cup of water intended for himself to the wounded 
soldier that was looking longingly at it and said, " Friend, thy wants 
are greater than mine." The world has done well to preserve this 

The Confederate Soldier in the Ranks. 11 

sublime instance of unselfishness, but it was an unselfishness born of 
sympathy with present suffering appealing- to him. The unselfish- 
ness of the Confederate was born of an abstract love of country 
looking away from the present to the future weal of our dear South- 
land. Who does not see that the self-denial of Private Addison 
Jones, of the Fifth North Carolina regiment, was of a higher and 
nobler type than the self-denial of the chivalric knight, the ideal hero 
of song and of story ? 

I will give some illustrations of an authentic character of the cool- 
ness and self-possession of the private in the ranks. From Colonel 
Sweitzer, of McClellan's Staff, I got under a flag of truce an anec- 
dote of one of my couriers at Seven Pines. In carrying an order 
from me through the woods, he came unexpectedly upon a regiment, 
whose unifoim made him feel blue. However, he kept up a bold 
front and asked: "What regiment is that?" "Seventh Massachu- 
setts," was the reply. "All right," said the courier," the orders 
are to hold your position at all hazards." Then he turned off into 
the woods before the blue-coats recovered their surprise sufficiently 
to give a harmless volley after him. I may not have right the name 
of the Federal regiment, but by inquiry I found out that of the 
courier ; for, modest as brave, he had not boasted of his adventure. 
He was Hector Bowden, of Loudoun county, Virginia. Poor fel- 
low ! his was a sad fate, for on a secret visit to his parents, he was 
murdered by the Tories of Means's gang. 

One other incident of the same kind. After the defeat of Porter 
at Cold Harbor, and while his men were huddled together in a con- 
fused mass in the woods after dark; they were told to encourage them, 
that Richmond had been captured and forthwith began to cheer 
vociferously. One of my couriers thinking that cheering could only 
come from victors, rode in among them and was greeted with the 
question: " Have we got Richmond ?" "Yes;" answered he, "we 
have got Richmond," and escaped under cover of their shouts and 
rejoicing. That courier was John Chamblin and Richmond has got 
him, if he has not got Richmond. 

An anecdote showing the kind of wit, which characterized the 
rollicking, careless, undisciplined boys of 1861, may not be out of 
place here. The story has been often told and many regiments have 
been credited with it. But I know the very time and the very regi- 
ment to which the anecdote belongs. At Yorktown, a colonel called 
out his regiment, formed it in line and began to scold the men sav- 
agely for some breach of discipline. In the midst of his vituperation 

12 The Confederate Soldier in the Ranks. 

a donkey began an unmerciful bray, when a unanimous shout came 
up from the impenitent and sorrowless gray-coats, " Hold on, Colo- 
nel, one at a time, one at a time." There is a delicacy of insinuation 
about this reply, which makes it unsurpassed and unsurpassable. 
No! I was not that colonel, though I could tell of as grievous a mis- 
hap to myself did not modesty forbid. I will tell rather of some 
other glorious exploits of the ragged Rebels. 

At Boonsboro, or South Mountain, my division, reduced to five 
thousand men by battle, disease, hard marching and want of shoes, 
was called upon to confront McClellan's army and to hold Turner's 
Gap against two corps of that army, while two other corps were in 
supporting distance. The immense wagon-yard and parks of reserve 
artillery of Lee's whole army were at the foot of the mountain on 
the west side. General Lee himself, with Longstreet's command, 
was at Hagerstown, thirteen miles off. A thin curtain of men ex- 
tending for miles along the crests of the mountains on that bright 
Sabbath day in September, was all we had to check a vast, perfectly 
organized and magnificently equipped army. There was nothing 
else to save our trains and artillery; there was nothing else to pre- 
vent McClellan from cutting in between Lee and Jackson; there was 
nothing else to save Longstreet's corps from irretrievable ruin. That 
thin curtain once broken, the enemy would have full possession of 
all our supply trains and supplies — ordnance, commissary and 
quartermaster stores; worse still, the two wings of Lee's army would 
have been riven asunder, never to be reunited. But there were 
giants in those days of 1862, and the haggard, weary, worn-out pri- 
vate in the ranks was a hero in his own right, and capable of multi- 
plying himself into overwhelming numbers. From 9 A. M. till 3^2 
P. M. two brigades and three regiments held at bay Reno's corps 
(said officially to be fifteen thousand strong), which attacked on our 
right, moving on the old Braddock road. Then three very small 
brigades of Longstreet's command, in an exhausted condition from 
their hot and hurried march, came to our assistance. With their aid 
the crests of the mountain and the road were held. Reno was killed 
at nightfall in Wise's field, where the fight began in the morning, and 
within fifty yards of where our beloved Garland fell. 

But on our left a commanding hill was lost before sundown. All 
the fighting before five o'clock was on our right, and the first rein- 
forcements from Longstreet were turned off in that direction where 
the enemy advanced very cautiously, because advancing in the woods 
and constantly apprehensive of surprise from overwhelming num- 

The Confederate Soldier in the Ranks. 13 

bers. In fact, the whole battle on the right and left was one of self- 
imposed illusions on the part of the Federals. McClellan had come 
into possession at Frederick of a copy of Lee's order directing Jackson 
to attack Harpers Ferry, and Longstreet and myself to proceed to 
Boonsboro. The copy found was the one directed to me, though I 
must disclaim here, as ever before, that I was the loser of it. Accord- 
ing to this order, Longstreet was at Boonsboro, and not Hagerstown, 
on the morning of the 14th, and McClellan's people believed that the 
whole mountain was swarming with Rebels. 

It is a curious fact that the map of this battle, prepared by the 
United States Bureau of Topographical Engineers in 1872, ten years 
after the battle, represents ten regiments and one battalion under 
Longstreet at the foot of the mountain, on the north side of turnpike 
and east side of the mountain. This, on the morning of the 14th 
September, before the fighting began. Longstreet did not have a 
man there at any time, and not one any where on the mountain till 
3^ P. M. I had forty men at the foot of the mountain on north 
side of the pike alter three o'clock, but not a man before that time. 
These forty men were under command of Captain R. E. Park, of 
the Twelfth Alabama, now living in Macon, Georgia. To have pro- 
duced the impression that there were ten regiments and one battalion 
here, these forty men must have been uncommonly frisky, and they 
must have multiplied themselves astonishingly, but unfortunately for 
us, not in overwhelming numbers. Burnside tells us that he sent two 
peremptory orders to Fighting Joe Hooker before he would move 
forward his corps. From the foot of the mountain Fighting Joe 
watched the magnificent advance of the divisions of Meade and 
Hatch, followed by the division of Ricketts. The previous fighting 
had drawn all our men, except Rodes's brigade, to the south side of 
the pike, and it was posted on the commanding point of which I have 
spoken. Meade took his division, with the true instincts of the soldier, 
to the peak held by Rodes with 1,200 men. So resolutely was Meade 
met that he sent for Duryea's brigade, of Ricketts's division. Long- 
street's broken down men were still arriving, and four hundred under 
Colonel Stevens went to the help of Rodes, and were in time to save 
him from being surrounded, but their combined effort could not save 
the peak, and the key of our position was lost. The steady advance 
of the other Federal divisions drove back by nightfall the remainder 
of Longstreet' s forces on the left of the pike to the very crest of the 
mountain. But the pike itself was still held, and the effort of the 
Federals to move up it met with a bloody repulse. So the retreat 

14 The Confederate Soldier in the Ranks. 

was effected without difficulty and without pursuit. The trains and 
artiilerv were saved, and the two wings of Lee's army were united 
at Sharpsburg. 

There had been much straggling of Longstreet's men on that hot 
and dusty march from Hagerstown. Garnett estimates that in march- 
ing and countermarching, his brigade passed over twenty two or 
twenty-three miles. The reports are very meagre as to the numbers 
that were brought into action at South Mountain. We must judge 
of the whole from the few authentic estimates that are given. The 
Seventeenth South Carolina reports 141 men in the fight; the First 
South Carolina 106 men; the Seventeenth Virginia 55 officers and 
men; the Nineteenth Virginia 150 men; the Eighteenth Virginia 120 
men ; the Fiftieth Virginia 80 men ; the Eighth Virginia 34 men. 
Longstreet admits now that his reinforcements did not exceed four 
thousand men. I think that estimate very high. But admitting this 
number, and that it was equally divided on the two sides of the pike, 
then Fighting Joe Hooker was contending with fifteen thousand men 
against 3,200 men, more than half of them in a broken down condi- 
tion. However, his powerful field glass gave Fighting Joe a good 
view of the battle, and he felt proud, as well he might, of the steady 
and gallant advance of his three divisions. He says in his report: 
"When the advantages of the enemy's position are considered and 
his preponderating numbers, the forcing of the passage of South 
Mountain will be classed among the most brilliant and satisfactory 
achievements of this army, and its principal glory will be awarded to 
the First Corps." The reader will please remember that the First 
Corps was "Fighting Joe's" corps. However, I am thankful to 
Fighting Joe for saying preponderating numbers, and not over- 
whelming numbers. 

The advantages of the position were with the attack, and not the 
defence, as any practical soldier will say, who will carefully examine 
the ground. 

General McClellan said officially: "The force opposed to me was 
D. H. Hill's division (15,000 men), and a part, if not the whole of 
Longstreet's, and, perhaps, a portion of Jackson's. Probably thirty- 
thousand in all." It is always safe to give a divisor of three to any 
estimate made by General McClellan of the forces of his enemy. The 
Genefal puts his attacking force in the two corps at thirty thousand. 
On the 14th September, 1862, I would have given that number a 
multiplier of two. An attacking column is apt to take on the ap- 
pearance of overwhelming numbers. 

The Confederate Soldier in the Ranks. 15 

South Mountain was heralded abroad by our antagonists as a 
great viclory. Favors, of that sort bad been few and far between, and 
this seemed to call for special gratulation and congratulation. Mr. 
Lincoln telegraphed the next day to General McClellan: "God bless 
you and all with you. Destroy the Rebel army, if possible. ' ' This is 
a model dispatch, and is a beautiful illustration of the meaning of St. 
James in the tenth verse of the third chapter of his epistle, which 
you can read when you go home. 

But Sharpsburg affords, as I think, the best illustration of the 
pluck, dash and stubborn fighting of the privates in the ranks. Lee's 
army was never so small. It had fought McClellan from Richmond 
to Harrison's Landing on James River. It had fought Pope from the 
Rappahannock to the Potomac. It had given a new experience to 
this young warrior, who, like Lockinvar had come gaily out of the 
West and had only seen the backs of his enemies, and had there 
learned to scorn all thoughts of lines of retreat. I suspect that the 
young man did not pet sonally gain any more knowledge in the East 
than he had done in the West about the faces of his foes, but the 
people he had about him did see those faces, and before he vanished 
amid the storm he left behind him this military maxim " for a line 
of retreat, the short cut is the safe cut." 

The campaigns against McClellan and Pope had greatly reduced 
Lee's army. The order issued on crossing the Potomac excusing 
all barefooted men from marching had reduced it still more. So, at 
Sharpsburg, General Lee had only the hardiest, strongest and bravest 
of his Rebel boys, The straggling had been enormous. The chaff 
had been blown off and only the sOund, solid wheat had been left. 

General McClellan estimates Lee's army at Sharpsburg at 97,445. 
These numbers, he says, he got from General Banks, who had them 
from " prisoners, deserters and spies." The precision of this calcula- 
tion strikes me as most admirable, 97,445, no more, no less. It was 
not a guess. Oh, no ! General Lee's guess of the strength of his 
own army would have fallen short of this by more than 6o,ooo. No, 
it was not a guess. It was obtained from " prisoners, deserters and 
spies." These generally count in round numbers, but on this occa- 
sion were minutely accurate. Why not 97,000 dry so? Why not 
97,400? Why not 97,440? Who figured out the last five? I 
surmise that "the intelligent contraband" is responsible for this as- 
tonishing precision. The added five helped to swell up " the over- 
whelming numbers." It could not, would not, should not be omitted. 

General McClellan puts his own forces ; t 87,164. He, too, must 

16 The Confederate Soldier in the Ranks. 

have been troubled with enormous straggling-. For we find on page 
98, Volume XIII, Records of the Rebellion, a statement from Quar- 
termaster-General Rufus Ingalls, that he had furnished transportation 
for 190,185 officers and men of McClellan's army. This statement 
was made on the 1st day of October, 1862, fourteen days after the 
battle of Sharpsburg and the wastage of that battle is not in the 
estimate. If we put McClellan's casualties at 12,000 in the battle, 
he must have had 202, 185 on his rolls on the morning of Sharpsburg. 
For the same record shows a complaint from him that he had not re- 
ceived any reinforcements after the battle. If then there were but 
87,164 at Sharpsburg, there were 105,021 elsewhere. 

I have always contended that Genera] Lee had less than 27,000 
infantry and artillery in the battle of Sharpsburg. He crossed the 
Potomac with nine divisions. As mine had not been in the Pope 
campaign and had therefore suffered less than the other eight from 
battle, disease and fatigue, I supposed it to be one of the very 
largest, and yet it had but little over 3,000 men in it at Sharpsburg. 
As nine times 3,000 gives 27,000, I thought that 27,000 was the 
maximum number in Lee's army. Dr. Dabney. a very careful 
statistician, puts Lee's strength at 33,000 including the cavalry. 
My estimate, which I have had to reduce, was of infantry and 
artillery alone. 

On page 813 of this Volume XIII, I find Lee's losses in killed and 
wounded in the Maryland campaign to have been 10,291, of which, 
my division is credited with 2,902 or 28.19 per cent, of the whole. 
It is not reasonable to suppose that this division should sustain more 
than one-fourth of the entire loss of the army, if its strength was 
not greater than one-ninth of the whole. It is true that the loss at 
South Mountain fell largely upon my division, but the loss there was 
probably as great in prisoners as in killed and wounded, and the 
10,291 loss is in killed and wounded only. So I had two reasons 
.for believing that my division was the largest of the nine at Sharps- 
burg, and that therefore Lee's infantry and artillery did not come up 
to 27,000. 

But the result can be reached in other ways, for though the reports 
are most meagre on the Southern side, we still have data enough to 
make an estimate different from that of the prisoners, deserters and 
spies, whom General Banks saw. 

General Lee crossed the Potomac with nine divisions, forty brigades, 
one hundred and sixty-six regiments and nine battalions of infantry. 
Three divisions were made out of two, so that at Sharpsburg, he had 

The Confederate Soldier in the Ranks. IV 

ten divisions without having more brigades and regiments. We 
have reports from five of these divisions: 

Early's division, 4 brigades, 3,500 men; D. R. Jones's division, 
6 brigades, 2,430 men; A. P. Hill's division, 6 brigades, 3,524 men; 
McLaws's division, 5 brigades, 2,832 men; D. H. Hill's division, 5 
brigades, 3,008 men; total, 15,294 men. 

From this number in twenty-six brigades of the forty in Lee's 
army, the single rule of three will give us 23,523 men as Lee's 
strength in infantry and artillery at the battle of Sharpsburg. This 
is, of course, on the supposition that the ratio in the twenty-six 
brigades was the same for the other twenty-four. Let us examine 
this by the light from the reports of the brigades themselves, so far 
as they are given: 

Robert Ransom's, 1,600; Lawton's, 1,150; Wofford's, 854; Rodes's, 
800; Barksdale, 800; Walker, 700; Trimble, 700; Hays, 550; Pfen- 
ning, 400; Cobb, 250; Stonewall, 250; Evans, 209; Kemper, 350; 
Garnett, 200; total, 8,813. 

The single rule of three gives the strength of the forty brigades on 
the ratio of these fourteen, to be 25,180. So the approximate re- 
sults reached from the reports of division and brigade commanders 
differ only by 1,557 men. 

Now let us see what estimate we can get from the reports of regi- 
mental commanders, so far as given in this same Volume XIII. We 

Eleventh Georgia regiment, 140; Eighteenth Georgia regiment, 176; 
Fifty-third Georgia regiment, 276; Fiftieth Georgia regiment, 100; 
Tenth Georgia regiment, 134; Second and Twentieth Georgia regi- 
ments, 400; First Texas regiment, 226; Sixteenth Mississippi regiment, 
228; First South Carolina regiment, 106; Seventh South Carolina regi- 
ment, 268; Seventeenth South Carolina regiment, 59; Hampton Le- 
gion, 77; Nineteenth Virginia regiment, 150; Eighteenth Virginia 
regiment, 120; Fifty-sixth Virginia regiment, 80; Seventeenth Vir- 
ginia regiment, 55; Eighth Virginia regiment, 34 — total, 2,629. 

General Lee had one hundred and sixty-six regiments, and nine 
battalions of infantry at Sharpsburg, say in round numbers, one hun- 
dred and seventy regiments of infantry. From the ratio of the 
eighteen regiments just given, we have for the whole one hundred 
and seventy regiments, 24,829. This differs from the estimate by 
brigades only by two hundred and fifty-one men. If we put our 
artillery at two thousand, we will have Lee's strength at Sharpsburg 
about 27,000. This estimate has been arrived at by four independent 

18 The Confederate Soldier in the Banks. 

calculations — ist. The strength and loss in my own division; 2d. 
The strength of the five divisions reported; 3d. The strength of 
fourteen brigades, including largest and smallest ; 4th. The strength 
of eighteen regiments, including largest and smallest. Taking Gen- 
eral McClellan's own estimate of his forces, 87,164, the boys in gray 
were outnumbered by sixty thousand. Not one of you who were on 
that terrible field will think even now, when calmly reviewing the 
awful scenes of that bloody day, that the odds against us was less 
than three to one. Who did not see again and again a thin Rebel 
line, scarcely a skirmish line, attack three heavy lines of battle with 
the utmost confidence, and come back again looking puzzled because 
the other fellows did not run? I will attempt no description of the 
wonderful deeds of valor performed by the hungry, ragged and 
broken down Rebels. Your own Patrick Henry could not do justice 
to it; my poor, stammering tongue would fall infinitely short of it. I 
have seen a plucky little bee-martin hover over, swoop down upon 
and peck at the ferocious hawk, and I have seen the grotesque 
movements of the great hulking bird to avoid the tiny beak of its 
tormentor. These old eyes of mine have watched that battle in the 
air, and these old eyes of mine looked upon the battle by the An- 

It is to the glory of Virginia that more than one fourth of the in- 
fantry regiments, and about one-fourth of batteries actually engaged 
at Sharpsburg belonged to the Old Dominion. The best handling of 
artillery which I saw during the war was there, always excepting the 
King William battery at Seven Pines. That irrepressible and 
ubiquitous battery was at Sharpsburg also. I said in my official re- 
port, and I have said hundreds of time since, that this battery con- 
tributed largely to the defeat of Burnside's attack on our right and 
rear. *\ 

What shall I say of that wonderful campaign from the Wilderness 
to Petersburg, in which Lee's army killed and wounded more of their 
♦memies than they had men in their own ranks ? What shall I say of the 
ten months in the trenches, under a constant rain of shot and shell, en- 
dured by these privates in the ranks half fed, half clothed, destitute of 
all the usual appliances for a defensive siege ; stifled at one time with 
heat and at another frozen with cold; fighting against ever- increasing 
odds — three times, five times, ten times, twenty times their own num- 
ber — confronting in their want and misery the sleek soldiers of the 
most pampered army on the globe, luxurious in its comforts, magni- 
ficent in its appointments, and invincible in its serried masses ? But 

The Confederate Soldier in the Ranks. 19 

those, our Confederates in the ranks fought on, suffered on, endured 
on, with no expectation of promotion or preferment ; with no hope of 
ultimate success, each knowing surely that the end must be, at best, 
life and unrecognized prowess ; at worst, death and an unknown grave. 
We "talk of the sufferings at Valley Forge, and the American people 
should hold them in everlasting remembrance. But what were the suf- 
ferings of Washington's men in comparison with the sufferings of 
Lee's men ? Yes, I feel that it is presumptuous in me to try to eulogize 
with words these martyrs without hope of reward or success — the 
Confederate soldiers in the ranks ; but I yield to no man in my love, 
respect, and reverence for them. 

And what shall be said of those unselfish patriots who were true to 
their colors to the last, when f>e ravages of armies had desolated 
their country, and the torches of bummers had left blackened chimneys 
as monuments over the buried treasures of a husband's and father's 
love? How can we sufficiently honor these men, who, knowing that 
their families, without food and without shelter, were starving to 
death or were living on the offal of the enemy's camps, who, know- 
ing even this, yet still answered to roll call, yet still filled their places 
in the ranks, yet still faced death again and again, putting duty to 
country above duty to wife and children? Aye, how many of these 
poured out their heart's blood in that last despairing struggle, leaving 
those they loved more than life to the cold charities of a forgetful 
world ? Hard must be the heart of that foeman which does not warm 
with a generous glow at this simple tale of sublime devotion to 
principle. And how should this story affect us, their comrades in 
danger and their partners in the same buoyant hopes and the same 
deep despair? May my arm be palsied by my side when it ceases to 
hold up the banner inscribed all over with their glorious deeds. May 
my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth when it ceases to pro- 
nounce the praises of such matchless courage, unrivalled fortitude, 
and unselfish patriotism. /V 

God bless the privates in the ranks now and forevermore ! 

Having an unwavering faith in the wisdom, justice, and mercy of 
God, I bow with adoring reverence to his decree which destroyed our 
hopes of Southern independence. I would not reverse His decree if I 
could do so. That would be wicked and presumptuous. All honorable 
Confederates render the truest allegiance to the obligations imposed 
upom them by the surrender. I believe that the most uncompro- 
mising rebels, yea, the bitterest rebels, if you choose to call them so, 
would be the very first to rally round the old flag in any just and hon 

20 The Confederate Soldier in the Ranks. 

orable war. They have expressed the sincerest sympathy with the 
sufferings and misfortunes of illustrious foemen. They have rejoiced 
at the brilliant successes of many of their late antagonists, and they 
have contributed to those successes. But no generous conqueror 
wishes the conquered to forget their old ties and their old loves. " No 
generous conqueror wishes us to disparage the grand heroism and 
the unparalleled constancy of the Confederates in the ranks. No 
generous conqueror expects us to underrate the ability of our great 
leaders because they were defeated, and unfairly fail to take into con- 
sideration that their defeat was due to overwhelming numbers. Every 
schoolboy knows of Thermopylae, and of Leonidas, defeated and 
slain ; but who of you can tell the name of the victorious Persian 
commander of the Dori-Phori, who attacked him in front? Who of 
you remembers the name of the commander ot the so-called Immortal 
Band which, having gone through a secret defile, attacked him suc- 
cessfully in rear ? 

The historian of the present looks only at victory and defeat. The 
historian of the past looks at all the surroundings. But even now we 
of the present, who have seen the great movements of our wonderful 
leaders, can look at those surroundings. Every one with Southern 
blood in his veins places in the front rank of the world's great com- 
manders, the two modest men who sleep so quietly and so unostenta- 
tiously at Lexington, Virginia. Every one with Southern blood in 
his veins cherishes in his inmost soul the memory of their great deeds 
as a precious legacy to the land they loved so well. 

General Hill was vociferously applauded as he took his seat, and 
was warmly congratulated on his speech. 

General Early was loudly called for, but excused himself from 
responding, except to remind his friend, General Hill, that the Fed- 
eral estimate of the Confederate strength at Sharpsburg was made 
by General Banks, who always saw the " rebels " through a pow- 
erful magnifying glass whenever " Stonewall" Jackson was about. 

In response to calls, General W. B. Taliaferro made a brief and 
stirring speech, which was loudly applauded. 

The officers of last year insisted upon a change, and a committee 
consisting of Captain C. A. Bohannon, General William McComb, 
and N. V. Randolph reported the following who were unanimously 
elected : 

For President: Major- General William B. Taliaferro. 

Vice-Presidents : Major-General William Smith, Colonel Char/es 

The Confederate Soldier in the Ranks. 21 

Marshall, Colonel James H. Skinner, Captain P. W. McKinney, 
Brigadier-General Thomas T. Munford. 

Executive Committee : Colonel William H. Palmer, Colonel 
Archer Anderson, Sergeant George L. Christian, Major T. A. 
Brander, Sergeant John S. Ellett. 

Treasurer : Private R. S. Bosher. 

Secretary : Private Carlton McCarthy. 

General W. H. F. Lee, the retiring president, was heartily thanked 
for the ability with which he had presided and the energy he had 
displayed in the management of the affairs of the Association. 

On motion of General Early. Misses Mary and Mildred Lee, Mrs. 
Thomas J. Jackson and her daughter, and Mrs. J. E. B. Stuart and 
her daughter were unanimously and enthusiastically elected honorary 
members of the Association, and the Secretary was directed to send 
them badges. 


After the exercises in the hall the Association and the invited 
guests repaired to Saenger Hall, where an elegant banquet was 
spread and the good things heartily enjoyed. 

General Taliaferro presided, and Judge George L. Christian acted 
as toast-master and read the toasts. The regular toasts and the res- 
pondents were as follows : 

The Infantry : 

If ever a band of warriors won 
A paean for deeds of valor clone, 
They deserve, indeed, the glorious meed 
And the proud triumphal hymn. 

General William McComb. 

The Cavalry: 

As went the knight with sword and shield 
To tournay or to battle-field, 
They offered at their country's call 
Their lives, their fortunes, and their all. 

General T. T. Munford. 

The Artillery : The voice from the mouths of their pieces sent 
dismay into the ranks of the enemy. 

Judge William I. Clopton. 

22 The Confederate Soldier in the Ranks. 

The Staff of Our Armies : The nerves which contributed to the 
genius of our great commanders, and through which their inspira- 
tion was conducted to their troops. 

Colonel Archer Anderson. 

The Armies of the West : The heroes of Corinth, Chickamauga, 
and Mobile are worthy comrades of those of Manassas, Gettysburg, 
and the Wilderness, and will ever greet each other as brethren. 

General D. H. Maury. 

The Women of the South : 

" Land of heroes, your endurance through the strife transcendent shines ; 
Born of sunlight, 'mid the tempest stood ye hrm as mountain pines." 

Dr. Thomas J. Moore. 

The Dead : 

" Their dust sleeps well in the land of their choice, 
Their names in song and story ; 
And fame shall shout with immortal voice, 
Dead on the field of glory." 

Hon. D. B. Lucas, of Jefferson county, West Virginia, whose 
exquisite poem, "The Land Where we were Dreaming," has 
touched so many hearts, responded to the last toast in a speech 
which elicited loud applause. There has been so strong a demand 
for its publication that we are glad to give it in full. 


In responding to the sentiment now proposed to the memory of 
the dead of the Army of Northern Virginia, I feel and appreciate 
both the difficulty and the sacred character of the melancholy duty 
which has been assigned me. 

What can I say which shall exaggerate the debt of gratitude or 
lighten the burden of regret which we owe to the brave soldiers who, 
by their courage, illumined the most brilliant page of military his- 
tory, and by their unselfish devotion sanctified the sternest lessons 
of civil and institutional disaster ? 

The formation of this Association was but the outgrowth of a sense 
of duty to the sentiments which cluster around our dead. 

The Confederate Soldier in the Ranks. 23 

To preserve in some permanent form the original and authentic 
evidence of what these men achieved was a high and sacred duty 
which we owed not to them only, but to ourselves and to our 

For no more melancholy sight can meet the eye of the patriot than 
to see a teacher in our public schools engaged in teaching the child- 
ren of these dumb and silent martyrs that their fathers died under 
some manner of cloud, or that they needed some sort of pardon, 
other than the free grace of the everlasting God whom they served. 
Neither can there be any moral or national necessity that the first 
axiom of mathematics, which is that the sum of all the parts is only 
equal to, and cannot exceed, the whole, should be untaught in the 
vain effort to prove that when an aggregate of twenty- seven hundred 
thousand Federal soldiers engaged six hundred thousand Confed- 
erates, the latter in every separate engagement, from Manassas to 
the Wilderness, outnumbered their Federal antagonists. 

No; thank God, the first duty which we owe to these dead heroes 
is the same which we owe to truth. The simplest form of annals, 
unadorned by political disquisition, as unwarped as mathematics and 
impartial as a sun-dial, would embody all that we should need to 
excite our just pride in their almost superhuman achievements; all 
that our children need to keep alive the flame of patriotism or the 
love of glory. They do not need any depreciation of their adver- 
saries, nor, as Chief-Justice Chase expressed it, any detraction from 
"the heroism of our countrymen who fell upon the other side." 
This unreasonable, not to say unholy sentiment, that to do justice to 
one side implies detraction from the other, should be given over to 
the sounding brass and tinkling cymbals with which we amuse our- 
selves in political harangues or popular assemblies. But here, as it 
were in the presence of our dead, we can do most honor to them, 
while at the same time we do full justice to the motives and courage 
of those who confronted them. 

We can divest ourselves of every suspicion of clap-trap, and, stand- 
ing face to face with our dead, say, in all clearness of conscience, that 
having accepted the umpirage of the sword we have also accepted 
its award, and mean to abide by it. This much for the outcome or 
actual result. 

But may God do so to us and more, if ever we fail when occasion 
demands the expression of conviction, to assert the simple truth, that 
these dear, darling dead were right ; that on the plane of clear rea- 

24 The Confederate Soldier in the Ranks. 

son, they were most sternly logical ; that as patriots, they had no 
superiors ; and as soldiers, they have had no equals. 

This is our conviction, that these men ventured all for self-govern- 
ment and died in a righteous and holy cause. 

Now, as for their achievements. They were matched against as 
brave soldiers as the world had produced, in love with a sentiment — 
the Union. They were outnumbered in the aggregate as six to 
twenty seven, or more than four to one. In population, their section 
(excluding slaves) was as seven to twenty two, or less than one to 
three. And yet they carried on the points of their bayonets their 
cause for four long years, and in the end yielded to famine and an 
exhausted treasury, rather than to military necessity. 

We cannot evade history. We may for a time startle her from her 
propriety, but she will in the end regain her equipoise. 

I have already remarked upon the absurd paradox presented in 
our school histories, namely, that while in the aggregate the Federal 
army numbered over twenty-seven hundred thousand and the Con- 
federate but a little over six hundred thousand, yet, in the separate 
decisive battles of the war, the forces engaged were nearly equal. 
What surpassing generalship ! What matchless strategic skill, 
which, with an average disparity of more than four to one, yet, 
on every critical plain, could oppose an equal number to their adver- 
saries ! But we can not suffer the prowess of these private soldiers, 
so justly extolled to-night by one of their most brilliant captains, to 
be disparaged, even to increase the fame of their immortal leaders. 
Let the plain story be told, though our Peter Parley histories and 
Mother Goose biographies should have to be relegated to the regions 
of romance where they rightfully belong. Let us frankly acknowl- 
edge that from first to last, on every important field from Manassas 
to Appomattox, the Army of the Potomac, composed of brave, 
enthusiastic, and well-equipped soldiers, outnumbered the Army of 
Northern Virginia by an average of more than two to one ; that for 
the first two years, the latter were mainly armed and clothed by cap- 
tures from the opposing forces ; that they never hesitated when 
ordered to attack a superior force and seldom failed to gain the 
advantage ; that they took more prisoners than they lost by capture ; 
that they killed more than they lost in battle, and that in one 
important campaign they destroyed more of the enemy by ten 
thousand than the actual count of their own whole army. 

I have compiled a table founded on the most reliable authorities 

The Confederate Soldier in the Ranks. 


exhibiting the comparative numbers and losses of the Army of the 
Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia in the more important 
engagements of the last two years of the war : 

Richmond — Seven Days 

Second Manassas 











12 321 




















These figures are monumental. They constitute a monument to 
the Army of Northern Virginia as much superior to brass or stone 
as spirit is to matter or reason is to sense. 

Yet, while these figures are conceded, their significance is met and 
their force evaded by an assumption that these soldiers lacked endu- 
rance and fortitude and a contrast is attempted to be drawn between 
their brilliant dash and the more steady and enduring valor of the 
Northern troops. 

If this charge — a lack of fortitude — could be sustained, it would 
detract much from the character of the Southern soldier, for, as 
Napoleon said : " The first qualification of a soldier is fortitude 
under fatigue and privation ; courage is only the second." 

Let us submit this question to the test of admitted facts, and see if 
the charge be just. Let us take the matter of equipment. Let us 
compare that of General McClellan before Richmond with that of 
General Johnston in the Summer of 1862. The Prince de Joinville, 
who accompanied McClellan, says that " But for the lack of women, 
their army might have been mistaken for an armed emigration, 
rather than a march of soldiers," so thorough and elaborate was the 
equipment. The Confederates, on the other hand, had soiled and 

26 The Confederate Soldier in the Banks. 

ragged uniforms, worn-out shoes, dilapidated tents, old-fashioned 
arms, and scanty fare. Yet this same ragged, illy-equipped army, 
without any new sources of supply or recruitment held on for two 
years longer, defeating Pope at Cedar Mountain and Second Manas- 
sas, driving back Burnside at Fredericksburg, routing Hooker at 
Chancellorsville, and, finally, when reduced to fifty-nine thousand, 
hurling themselves with incredible valor against a newly equipped 
army of one hundred and one thousand on the heights of Gettysburg. 
If these achievements did not require and avouch the power to bear 
fatigue and privation, then must we acknowledge that the Army of 
Northern Virginia lacked fortitude and was not equal to the Napo- 
leonic test already quoted. If, on the other hand, these undisputed 
facts are to be given their full force and significance, let us do the 
Great Army justice and say that they lacked nothing which is re- 
quisite to the true soldier : discipline, enthusiasm, love of country, 
courage, and fortitude under privation in the highest degree were all 

Take again the career of Stonewall Jackson's command in the 
same summer of 1862, as an illustration of the endurance of the 
Army of Northern Virginia in encountering fatigue. Let us com- 
mence at Kernstown. At this point Jackson attacked seven thousand 
with twenty-seven hundred, and desired to court-martial General 
Garnett, who held the center, for retreating before four times his 
number, after his ammunition was exhausted. 

Afterwards, in the next forty days, with an average force of fifteen 
thousand men, he amused himself (as the Prince de Joinville ex- 
presses it) by baffling and in four pitched battles, defeating as many 
successive generals; he marched his troops four hundred miles, cap- 
tured thirty-five hundred prisoners of war, together with vast mili- 
tary stores and supplies, and kept employed against him, paralyzing 
in and around Washington, eighty thousand men. 

In advance and retreat he double-quicked the soldiers of the 
Shenandoah Valley through their native villages, amid waving of 
handkerchiefs and salutations of wives, children, sisters, and sweet- 
hearts without breaking ranks. 

These men were called "Jackson's foot-cavalry" because one 
soldier covered as much ground and bore as much fatigue as is ordi- 
narily demanded of a soldier and a horse. They were the Centaurs 
of modern warfare. 

After the campaign in the Valley these same men left Mount 
Meridian, which is not far from Staunton, on the 17th of June, 1862, 

The Confederate Soldier in the Ranks. 27 

and marched direct to Richmond, engaging in the battle at Mechan- 
icsville on the 26th, a distance of one hundred and twenty miles, and 
without taking time to rest or recruit, except on the intervening 
Sabbath, which was spent in rest and worship. 

But why do I recount these instances of fortitude and endurance 
on the part of the Army of Northern Virginia before men, many of 
whom were participants in these heroic struggles, and all of whom 
are familiar with their history ? 

Not only did the Army of Northern Virginia excel in that highest 
attribute of a soldier, fortitude, but their love of country was unsur- 
passed. For the last two years of the war they served, practically, 
without pay. Nominally the private soldier received thirteen dollars 
per month, but it was paid in Confederate currency. I have made a 
careful estimate of the value of these wages, reduced to the gold 
standard for the forty- eight months of the war, and I find that the 
average pay of the Confederate soldier, reduced to gold, was less than 
thirty-five cents per month. 

No hirelings these, but patriots, whose services were inspired only 
by a sense of duty, and rewarded only by the gratitude of their coun- 

Of the military leaders, our dead officers who commanded these 
men, I cannot consume your time to speak. They came from every 
Southern State, and now sleep in the bosom of Virginia — Lee and 
Jackson, and Bee, and Pelham, and Winder, and Whiting, and Wheat, 
and many others now imperishably linked in fame with the story of 
the Great Struggle. 

Napoleon, though great in victory, did not bear irredeemable de- 
feat with the fortitude which the world had a right to expect ; while 
Washington, being victorious, left his composure in final disaster only 
to be conjectured from his magnanimity in ultimate success. But 
General Lee demonstrated by the reluctance with which he took up 
arms, and the brilliancy with which he bore them ; by his moderation 
in victory and the unsurpassed nobility of his bearing in defeat; by 
his great achievements in war and his dignified devotion to the most 
ennobling arts of peace, that he possessed all the rare elements of 
moral and intellectual greatness, which, by their combination, con- 
spire to form the noblest specimens of our race — 

"A combination and a form indeed, 
Where every god did seem to set his seal, 
To give the world assurance of a man ! " 

28 The Confederate Soldier in the Ranks. 

When General Lee announced to the Army of Northern Virginia 
the death of General Jackson, he hit upon the two great qualities of 
the soldier which distinguished, with most peculiar emphasis, the 
dead captain — courage and confidence in God. "We feel," said 
General Lee, " that his spirit still lives, and will inspire the whole 
army with his indomitable courage and unshaken confidence in God, 
as our hope and strength." 

" A great captain," said Napoleon, "supplies all deficiencies by 
his courage." It was this courageous self-confidence, inspired by a 
higher confidence in God, which distinguished General Jackson. 

But he was not more self-confident than modest. It is related that 
when General Lee's note of condolence, telling him that for the good 
of the country he had preferred being wounded himself was read to 
him, he exclaimed, " Better ten Jacksons than one Lee!" 

Thus did these two great compeers vie in modesty, and unselfish 
admiration, each of the other. Two twin giants, to whom Virginia, 
a second Ilia, pregnant by Mars, had given birth; and who, though 
they failed to found an Empire, as did Romulus and Remus, will yet 
shine like Castor and Pollux as bright constellations in the firma- 
ment of history; but with this difference, that while the Sons of Ledd 
illumine the sky but one at a time, our Twins, sons of Virginia, trans- 
fixed, shining together, shall cosparkle in one equal splendor through- 
out all coming ages. These dead — these darling dead — they have 
not died in vain! 

Not in vain, my countrymen, their courage and achievement; not 
in vain their highest virtue of fatigue-enduring fortitude; not in vain 
their unbought and unpaid services in the field; not in vain did the 
fathers die unbountied, as their children live unpensioned; not in vain 
did they walk through the tragedy of war, or do they now lie down 
in the dull pantomine of death; their deeds were not in vain, be- 
cause we who survive shall teach them to our children, and thus pre- 
serve a heroic race of men capable of such self sacrifices as these 
men made, and equal to such heroism as may serve, when lapsed 
from virtue, "to recall us to ourselves, and join us to the eternal 



Association of the Army of Northern Virginia, 

For Sale at the Annexed Prices. 

Association Army of Northern Virginia Badges, Enamel and 

Gilt, Ribbon, &c, - - - - - $200 

Membership Certificates (for members only), - - 1 00 

The Memorial Volume of the Army of Northern Virginia, 
containing the Annual Addresses, as follows : 

1873. Col. C. S. Venable, Wilderness to Cold Harbor. 

1874. Col. Charles Marshall, on the Strategic Value of Rich- 


1875. Major John W. Daniel, on Gettysburg. 

1876. Capt, W. Gordon McCabe, on the " Defence of Peters- 


1877. Private Leigh Robinson, on " The Wilderness." 

1878. Col. William Allan, on Jackson's Valley Campaign, 

1879. General Fitzhugh Lee, on Chancellorsville. 

Price of the Volume, - - - 2 00 

Also the Adresses of — 
1 88 1. Col. Archer Anderson, on " The Campaign and Battle 

of Ghickamauga," .... # ^ 

1883. Hon. Alfred M. Scales, on The Battle of Fredericksburg, .25 
1885. General Bradley T. Johnson, on the First Maryland 

Campaign, - - - - - .50 

1885. General D. H. Hill, on the Confederate Soldier in the 

Ranks, - - - .50 

The Addresses of 1877, by Robinson, and 1878, by Col. Allan, 
may also be had separately at 50 cents each. Address : 


511 N. Fifth St., Richmond, Va. 



Major-Generil J. E. B. Stuart, 

Commander of the Cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia. 

H. B. McCLELLAN, A. M., 

Late Major, A. A. General and Chief of Staff of the Cavalry Corps, 
Army of Northern Virginia. 

The work will be an 8vo volume of about 400 pages, with seven 
maps, prepared especially for it. Bound in cloth. 

The book will be ready in November, or sooner. Mailed free on 
receipt of $3.00 in advance. 

A few copies can be had bound handsomely in half calf or half 
Morocco at $5.50. Address 

carlton McCarthy, 

511 N. Fifth St., Richmond, Va.